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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-09-06

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Thursday, September 6, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] Euro MPs blast Turkish threats over Cyprus
  • [02] Students heckle Papandreou outside the Palace
  • [03] Electricity bills to rise as subsidies eased out
  • [04] Greek Big Brother coming to Cyprus
  • [05] EAC to move controversial power lines
  • [06] Cracks appear over teachers' hardline stance
  • [07] Unemployment down on last year

  • [01] Euro MPs blast Turkish threats over Cyprus

    By Jennie Matthew

    THE EUROPEAN Parliament yesterday issued a clear warning to Ankara that it could forget its European Union bid if it went ahead and annexed the occupied areas if a divided Cyprus joined the EU.

    Euro MPs adopted a report drawn up by former Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos, which warned Turkey's application for EU membership would come to an end if the north was ever annexed.

    On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry had denied ever threatening to annex the north, accusing Poos of harbouring a personal grudge against Ankara.

    However, the Chairman of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok, lashed out against the "intolerable attacks" from Turkey.

    "We as the European Parliament cannot accept this type of personal attack," Brok told a news conference.

    The tough message was adopted despite pleas from Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen for the Parliament to support diplomatic efforts to unite Cyprus within the framework of Greco-Turkish rapprochement.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the Parliament's decision was "the minimum" to be expected from "an international organisation with any respect".

    "I think that all diplomats should be convinced by now that the only way out is for Mr Denktash and the Turkish side to receive a very determined message from the international community," he added.

    Diplomats have been working round the clock to persuade Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to return to the UN sponsored proximity talks in New York in September.

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan invited Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides to pre-negotiation meetings in New York on September 12, but the Turkish Cypriot side yesterday refused to go.

    He said diplomatic efforts had come to nothing in the last quarter of a century.

    The Poos report lambasted Turkey for a catalogue of crimes in Cyprus.

    It "deplores" Denktash's "unjustified" withdrawal from talks and said the current impasse was delaying the solution of humanitarian problems.

    It criticised Turkey for failing to pay compensation in the Titina Loizidou case and referred to the European Court of Human Rights' ruling on May 10 that Turkey was guilty of major human rights violations in northern Cyprus.

    Poos urged Denktash to return to negotiations and called on Turkey to wake up to the benefits of EU membership.

    The report also called on the government to safeguard the future of the Akamas peninsula as a protected area.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Students heckle Papandreou outside the Palace

    By George Psyllides

    A STUDENT protest against Greco-Turkish rapprochement outside the Presidential Palace was yesterday marred by minor scuffles when police manhandled students and ripped up a banner.

    Around 20 students of the Higher Technological Institute, members of an independent group, assembled outside the Presidential Palace at around 10am to demonstrate against Greco-Turkish rapprochement, which they claim is unacceptable as long as Turkish troops are occupying the island.

    Papandreou is seen as the architect of rapprochement and came under fire earlier this year for dancing the zembetika on the island of Samos with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem clapping him along.

    The chairman of the group, Yiannis Zaharoudiou, said: "We planned to come here for a peaceful protest and we told the security officer that our demo would be peaceful."

    "We wanted to voice our exasperation and displeasure about Greco-Turkish rapprochement while the occupation continues in Cyprus," he said.

    But according to Zaharoudiou, several officers out of around 25 on duty charged a group of female students who were holding a banner saying: "shame on you for dancing with the occupier".

    One officer apparently ripped the banner, took the piece and left the scene.

    This action outraged the students, who nevertheless continued their peaceful protest from the pavement outside the palace's entrance.

    "Only the (Greek) Junta and the police today dared to muzzle students and behave this way." Zaharoudiou said.

    When the Greek Foreign Minister arrived at the Presidential Palace for a scheduled meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, he got out of his car and spoke briefly with the students, who handed him their pamphlet.

    According to the students, Papandreou told them he understood their worries and assured them that Greece was doing its best to solve the Cyprus issue.

    Zaharoudiou said Papandreou had showed good will towards the students, adding nevertheless: "I think what he does is an insult to the nation."

    He added: "We are fed up with words. Unfortunately, it's the actions that matter, and what's being done behind our backs; that's what stays."

    Anna Georgiadou accused the police of attacking them without any reason.

    "We came here to protest peacefully and the police attacked us, ripped our banner and hit us," she said.

    "As far as I know only the police forces of fascist regimes hit women like this," she added.

    But Georgiadou said that the "unacceptable" incident would not change the essence of the demonstration, which was about the Greek Foreign Ministry's policy over Cyprus.

    Florentia Kyprianou justified the protest as the least the students could do when Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis had declared that Greco-Turkish rapprochement could not be interrupted just because Turkey had invaded Cyprus.

    "Turkey hasn't shown any signs of good will and Greece insists its policy would make it stronger in the diplomatic field and bring better days for us, which unfortunately we are not seeing," Kyprianou said.

    The 20 or so students withdrew peacefully chanting: "No friendship while occupation continues in Cyprus."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Electricity bills to rise as subsidies eased out

    By George Psyllides

    THE ELECTRICITY Authority (EAC) yesterday admitted households could be faced with increases to their electricity bills over the next few years in the name of European Union harmonisation.

    The Chairman of the EAC Board of Directors, Giorgos Georgiades, told the Cyprus Mail that readjustments in the billing system were necessary and were effectively being forced on the authority in order to comply with EU directives.

    "It's a readjustment to comply with the EU and not aimed at making a profit for the organisation," he said.

    Unfortunately, Georgiades added, the readjustments involved small gradual increases in the bills paid by households within the next three to five years.

    According to the EAC Chairman, household consumers of electricity could be asked to pay around three to four per cent more every year over the next four to five years. The increases would require Cabinet and parliamentary approval.

    He noted that even if the Cabinet approved the proposals, they could still be rejected by the House, which, he said, was sensitive and hesitant to impose such price hikes on the public.

    Georgiades explained that in the past the industrial sector had paid over and above its consumption in order to subsidise household bills, which were slightly lower than what they should have been.

    So, in effect, everyone would now be paying exactly for what they consumed and subsidies would be scrapped, to come in line with the EU acquis communitaire.

    Georgiades said household bill had remained effectively unchanged since 1983, with the public only having to foot the cost of fuel increases.

    He said this had not been done because of the authority's generosity, but through the improvement of production, transport and distribution costs.

    "The EAC managed to keep billing stable for a long period - 18 years; if we are forced in the next four to five years to impose some very small increases I think Cypriot citizens would accept them," Georgiades said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Greek Big Brother coming to Cyprus

    By Rita Kyriakides

    BIG Brother is coming to Cyprus in a Greek version being beamed into our homes from Greece from September 10.

    Twelve contestants, referred to as housemates, will be living together in a house in Athens for 112 days, with one person being 'evicted' every 15 days.

    The housemates will anonymously nominate three people for eviction, and the public will vote on who will be evicted until there are four people left.

    The winner will be voted on by the public and will walk away with 50 million drachmas. The other three housemates will each get a car as consolation prizes.

    The six women and six men, all Greek, will be living in a house with a kitchen, sitting room, two bedrooms with six beds each, one toilet and shower, a swimming pool and a large garden with a poultry yard containing a cock and ten chickens.

    The whole house, except for the toilet, contains 24 cameras and 48 microphones, which will record for 23 out of 24 hours a day.

    The housemates will be cut off from the outside world and will not have access to telephones, television, radio or computers.

    Their only communication with the outside world will be with a member of the television studio, Andreas Mikroutsikos, who will speak to them once a week.

    A website, www.bigbrother.hellasonline.gr, has been established for up to date information on the show and will begin operation on Monday, September 10, when the show begins.

    The first show will be broadcasted live at 10pm on Monday on Antenna, but the rest of the shows will be broadcast at a later time slot.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] EAC to move controversial power lines

    By George Psyllides

    POWER cables suspected of causing leukaemia to residents of a Limassol area will be relocated in six months, the Electricity Authority (EAC) said yesterday.

    Speaking to a Limassol radio station, EAC Chairman George Georgiades said they had secured the necessary town planning permits to remove the overhead cables from a residential area and relocate them to a farming area.

    Georgiades said this was an important project for the EAC, since it would solve the problem of overhead power cables passing through residential areas.

    The issue emerged over a year ago after residents of the area claimed the electromagnetic fields emitted from the cables caused leukaemia and demanded their removal.

    The residents said 13 people, including several children, had died from the disease, and threatened to bulldoze the pylons if the authority refused to remove its cables.

    Back then, the EAC claimed it was conforming to all regulations and international standards, arguing that its electric power installations emitted just one tenth of the maximum allowed standard.

    The authority presented a study carried out in the UK and published in The Lancet

    medical journal: "This study provides no evidence that exposure to magnetic fields associated with the electricity supply in the UK increases risks for childhood leukaemia, cancers of the central nervous system, or any other childhood cancer."

    But the residents refuted thism arguing the study was carried out on the basis of an average 0.2 micro Tesla exposure.

    EAC fields emit an average of seven micro Tesla, the residents said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Cracks appear over teachers' hardline stance

    By Melina Demetriou

    A RIGHT-wing faction within teachers' union OELMEK yesterday opposed a union decision to take radical measures in protest at the government's failure to implement a promotions agreement.

    Secondary schoolteachers' union OELMEK this week vowed to act unilaterally and force the implementation of the agreement in question from Monday next week. The union charged said the Education Ministry would "be responsible for the chaos that will be caused", and threatened to "step up" action if necessary.

    The Pancyprian Pupils' Parents Association yesterday insisted that the two sides had not discussed the matter through yet.

    The changes teachers are implementing include reducing the teaching hours of teachers with six or seven years of experience from 24 to 22 and those with 13 to 15 years of experience from 22 to 20.

    OELMEK also warned that assistant heads and teachers of specialised subjects would not perform all of their duties.

    The decision has been passed by a slender majority vote of OELEMEK's council.

    OELMEK says the agreement reached with the ministry earlier this year provided for these reductions in teachers' workload.

    The union also announced last week that school inspectors would be denied access to schools, protesting at the fact that a new teachers' evaluation system was not in place yet.

    But in an announcement yesterday, the union's right-wing faction Allayi positioned itself against the decision, which it fears will "lead to dangerous adventures".

    The right-wing faction warned that OELMEK's move would put its members' salaries on the line and turn parents against teachers, "since children will be the ones who will suffer from this".

    Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides on Tuesday branded OELMEK's threats illegal and anarchic, and threatened that teachers would suffer pay cuts if they went ahead and taught fewer hours.

    OELMEK's secretary general Sotiris Charalambous hit back, accusing the ministry of "masterminding the sell-off of public education".

    Ioannides insists his ministry has demonstrated "religious respect" for the agreement.

    Pancyprian Pupils' Parents Association chairman Elias Demetriou said yesterday the two sides had not exhausted all means of negotiation.

    "The agreement in question is pending parliamentary approval and deputies are still on holiday. So the problem is partly procedural and this chaos could have been prevented," Demetriou told the Cyprus Mail.

    He refrained from taking sides in the dispute, but complained: "children are always the ones suffering in these cases."

    Demetriou is due to meet with OELMEK's leadership today to address the problem.

    He said he had already discussed the matter with Ioannides.

    Teachers returned to schools on Monday after the summer holiday. Pupils return to school next Wednesday.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Unemployment down on last year

    By Rita Kyriakides

    UNEMPLOYMENT rates in Cyprus have decreased by 11.5 per cent in the first six months of this year.

    According to the Statistics Department, in June of this year, 2.8 per cent of the working population was unemployed.

    There was increase of 822 unemployed people bringing the total for the first six months of 2001 to 8,644, an improvement on last year's figures of 9,772 for the same period.

    The seasonal increase in the number of people unemployed has been blamed on the influx to the labour market coinciding with the end of the school year.

    The manufacturing sector had 1,452 people out of work, compared to 2,183 in 2000, the commerce sector 1,375 compared to 1,334 in 2000 and the public works sector 1,262 compared to 687 last year.

    Other sectors have 1,078 unemployed compared to last year's figure of 1, 801.

    There were 907 new people entering the labour market this year as unemployed, compared to the 534 in 2000.

    According to statistics 1,307 had been unemployed for 15 days, 3,808 for between 15 days and three months, 1,687 for three to six months, 1,250 for six to 12 months and 592 for over a year.

    Statistics also show that the highest unemployment rate is in Nicosia, with 3,982 people collecting unemployment benefit from the Welfare Department, followed by Limassol with 2,631, Larnaca and Famagusta with 1,250 and Paphos with 781 people.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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